Belize - Belize News - Channel5Belize.com - Great Belize Productions - Belize Breaking News
Home » Education, Miscellaneous, People & Places » Young Prisoners Graduate from Kaina Online High School
Jul 11, 2019

Young Prisoners Graduate from Kaina Online High School

Two inmates were beaming with pride as they stood among a group of graduates on Sunday in Belmopan.  The two successfully completed a programme with Kaina Online High School.  Five other inmates also hope to graduate some day from the programme. The accomplishment is a turning point in their lives, showing that despite struggles behind bars, they have beaten the odds and achieved success. News Five’s Hipolito Novelo reports.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

The young men at the Wagner’s Youth Facility at the Belize Central Prison are given hope; hope that life behind bars is not the end.

 

Virgilio Murillo

Virgilio Murillo, C.E.O., Kolbe Foundation

“Life does not stop with you coming to prison and really, you can leave a better person than you came in. It is all up to you.”

 

The challenge to embrace positive change and move forward, despite the mistakes and bad choices, was taken up by seven of the young men. These youths, through the kind sponsorship of the Community Rehab Department, enrolled in the Kaina Online High School, an accredited education platform, with the goal to attain a certified diploma.

 

William Dawson

William Dawson, Director, Wagner’s Youth Facility

“It offers them a realistic approach of friendlier education while they were incarcerated.  It is a typical high school curriculum. They offer subjects such as Math, English, Literature, Social Studies, Spanish, Religion, I.T.; the regular school curriculum.”

 

On Sunday two of the students proudly walked up to receive their high school diploma, an achievement they thought would have never been accomplished after they stepped through the prison gates. Because they became inmates as minors, their identity will not be disclosed. One of the graduates, who has been on remand for the past four years, spoke of his experience.

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 1

 “It was an amazing experience for me because first time I came to prison, I felt like my life was done. I knew I was going to be here for a while. I was taken out of school so I didn’t think I thought I would have had another chance to get back. When I just came, I lost hope. But it only took me a matter of time to realize that you are done, but not out. Get back out and back on my feet and surround myself with positive people and continue.”

 

The second graduate is a felon and is serving the remainder of a three-year sentence. He too thought that Sunday’s accomplishment was beyond his grasp.

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 2

“It feels very great. I had a nice time in the Kaina online High School. I have been pushing and pushing and thanks to Mr. Jack helped me a lot through it. I understand a lot too. It was nice.”

 

Hipolito Novelo

“Was it difficult?”

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 2

“It is difficult because you can’t say it is just easier or so because there are times that difficulty happens. And you have subjects that get to your head. When I graduated, I felt very proud of Mr. Dawson and my family. I was very happy that you know what I can be someone in life. It does not have to be here.”

 

For the graduates, it was more just about words and numbers, their journey was backed up by a support system which aimed to instill confidence and determination in the young men as they move forward with their lives.

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 2

“All of them been there pushing me. How this experience went I know that they will really love. They are like our fathers. They showed us better than all of us can make a difference.”

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 1

“When I began to focus on myself and change myself, I began to realize that there are a lot of people who love me and care for me and are there for me. I don’t take that for granted. I take advantage of every situation which comes well into my hands. And I decided that I really don’t want to give any trouble and focus more when I come out and what I will do afterward.”

 

Rene Henderson

Rene Henderson, Mentor

“One of the main reasons that he has had this change is because of the growth structures and disciplines that they are taught in the Kolbe Foundation.  Also the beautiful part of this is because he has had a change. Bit by bit we are seeing a wonderful transformation taking place in their lives as well.”

 

And now these two young men have high hopes, to grow into mature and productive adults upon their return to society.

 

William Dawson

“When a man comes to prison is not the end of their life. He still has dreams and goals”

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 1

“My dreams and aspirations for the future…maybe in the future I want to be a pilot or something you know.”

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 2

“When I do come out I try to look for scholarship and go straight to the sixth form and go to John’s and go on with my life. I want to make it better to Belize too, that is my goal.”

 

Voice of: High School Graduate 1

“Never look down on yourself because society might look down on people, accused of a serious crime. People are quick to judge and they don’t know your background but my advice to them is just keep your head up and continue to be you and focus on yourself. Live for who loves you, not for who don’t care about you.  One Sunday when I graduated, being with family and the amount of love I felt, it was truly amazing. It was quite a journey I am still trying because it is not done yet.   I just want to thank my mom too. If she sees this, love her and thing.”

 

Virgilio Murillo

“Remember what Nelson Mandela said, the prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all though, a test of one’s commitment and that commitment is really is to change.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Hipolito Novelo.

 

Five additional inmates of the Wagner’s Youth Facility are enrolled in the course and on the path to also obtain their high school diploma.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

Advertise Here

Leave a Reply

CAPTCHA Image
*